Tuesday, May 3, 2016

#12Monkeys Monkey Musings #3 - On changing time but not changing emotional fallout

They did it! They managed to change time! Cole will never have to stand in 2017 and watch Cassie die in his arms because the virus doesn't happen till 2018 now! But that means he remembers it and it drives him, but she'll never get to that point--if she does, it'll be a different point now, with a different set of circumstances leading up to it.

And that's what a time travel show is about.

See, to have that scene from Cassie's point of view, they'd have to fail so spectacularly that time resets and the plague goes back to 2017, but now, the plague isn't even the point. Whatever the Messengers are doing is, and it looks an awful lot like they're changing time, too--or making it so there is no time to change?

We still have the issue of the space between 2016 and 2044 that got shifted. There's enough more people in the future now that there's music and radio broadcasts, but our four mains don't remember any of that because they were protected from being rewritten by the serum--how long before Dr Eklund and a restored Lasky aren't the only major personal difference that they stumble across? Because Cassie and Cole and Ramse and Jones are working on the assumption that things have only changed a little and their own perceptions of the future are close enough...but what if they aren't? What if they're now missing vital pieces of information? Things that matter to whatever else is out there--or now out there--that hasn't come to the front of their attentions yet, because they don't know to look for it?

Old!Jennifer probably saw time changing because that's what she does. But Team Splinter doesn't notice a difference. Deacon doesn't. He still hates Ramse and has a rivalry with Cole, but what if there are slight differences in his history that make him different--like, if Ramse wasn't trying to get himself killed last episode, what if he didn't know not to push that button because OldTimeline!Deacon wouldn't have had it, and NewTimeline!Deacon does?

And regardless of all that, Cole and Cassie didn't change, and everything that has piled up between them since she didn't save him from Chechnya last season, all that stuff they haven't dealt with at all, is still there and came with them into the new timeline. Everything that softened Cole since then--learning to dance, eating good food he didn't have to fight for, seeing what sort of world he was saving, meeting Cassie and being impressed by her compassion and her competence--had the flip side of making her hard. It stopped him from killing and taught her how to kill, and did both after she was already mad that he'd let her former fiancee get killed horribly. She thinks Aaron died protecting her from Cole, and seems to have forgotten that he'd sold them out to do it. Cole saved her instead of letting her die, but he did it by stranding her in the exact world that happens because everything she stands for fails--as of this moment, they manage to push the plague back, to delay the apocalypse, but she still fails to save the world, and that's the mission she's given herself since Cole first showed up in 2013 and changed her life.

And they haven't dealt with any of that. 

There's piles of guilt and resentment and crossed wires between them, and while Cole was in 2016 hoping and learning lessons and remembering Cassie fondly, Cassie was in the apocalypse learning how to kill people, seeing what failure costs, and getting trained by the man Cole specifically didn't want to be like. 

And it looks like all that is starting to fall out now. It's blocking Cole and Cassie from making up. It's stopping them from even being as good a team as they were, because she's convinced now that she can't trust him, which hurts him, and makes them both wary and questioning when they need to be able to depend on each other.

Cassie tore Cole's picture in half. That was sort of mean, but it makes a point: they're not together, and the picture isn't how things are. She tore it right down the middle between the two of them. But she didn't shred it or toss it--she gave the two pieces back, and they could be mended, and that's symbolic, too. Maybe on some level, she didn't want to completely burn that bridge. She just wants to keep poking at Cole until she gets the reaction that she wants--and guilty sweetness doesn't seem to be it.

It hurts, watching them with this wedge between them. But it's also wonderfully well done--and it's perfect continuity. How often have people on TV really just needed to talk something out and never gotten around to it? Never even gotten around to admitting that there should be emotional continuity? But 12 Monkeys is a bigger and more thoughtful show than that, and it's taking the rocky road that means characters get what they deserve, and it's amazing.

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